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A bad week for pension scammers - now what's next?

The launch of a pension scams awareness campaign and the deadline of a long-awaited consultation on pensions cold calling has made this a week of progress in the ongoing battle against pension scams. These encouraging initiatives should help protect consumers’ hard-earned savings, but it is no secret that more needs to be done. 

The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Conduct Authority’s joint pension scams awareness campaign launched this week gained widespread media coverage, urging viewers: "don't let a scammer enjoy your retirement". Primetime TV ad slots are not cheap, and we welcome the profile that this has given the issue and applaud the coordinated approach taken by the regulators.

The campaign launch is timely, as the consultation on draft regulations seeking to ban unsolicited direct marketing calls in relation to pensions closes today, taking the ban one step closer to the finish line. The end message for consumers should be simple: that pensions cold calling is illegal. But as the nature of pension scams evolve - industry, government and regulators will need to keep one step ahead.

Our response sets out the need for monitoring so that a ban could be extended to all retail investments in the future and it also identifies the other important measures, such as limiting the statutory right to transfer and a clampdown on unregulated introducers, which would support and work alongside the ban. 

With our response now finalised and submitted to HMT, we will continue to press for progress. Industry also have a role to play in raising awareness and protecting customers. Earlier this year we again fed into, reviewed and supported the revised Code of Good Practice on Combating Pension Scams and encourage ABI members to use it. 

A benefit of the regulators' campaign is that it encourages consumers to think twice when making important decisions about their pensions. It needs to be seen as part of a wider engagement strategy. Continued work from government and industry on the pensions dashboard, mid-life MOT and consumer communications are key to help people understand and value their long-term savings. 

Last updated 17/08/2018